Making Sense of DREAM 7 Ratings

Promoted to the front page from the FanPosts by Luke Thomas.


DREAM Featherweight GP winners pose during post-fight press conference. Photo from

When I saw the ratings for the tape-delayed airing of DREAM 7 on Tokyo Broadcasting System, I was surprised. After DREAM 5 and DREAM 6 pulled down ratings in the 9%-10% range, an average of 2.4% seemed unthinkable. Yet here were the usual suspects like FightOpinion, and Bloodyelbow, using the inevitable "Nightmare" headlines to describe how bad things were. But something wasn't adding up.

Zach Arnold's piece said that the ratings were so bad, news sources like Sports Navigator "can't keep their eyes closed" any longer, but the report in question simply stated the ratings figures without any positive or negative analysis, like usual. Between these three sites, there was no real information to help put this rating into context.

As it turns out, DREAM 7 was aired at 1:20 AM local time on Sunday night. And unlike previous Sunday/Monday DREAM shows, it did not air during a long holiday weekend, but before a work day during the busiest time of the year in Japan. In other words, this was the worst time slot given to new DREAM programming on TBS by a wide margin. To compare this to previous events airing in prime time on big TV nights would seem ridiculous, but these blogs are doing it anyway.

Another piece of this puzzle which evidently has gone overlooked is the expectation for this event. It was put in a dreadful timeslot with no major stars and no real main event.

The average rating for the time slot on TBS, from what I gather, is about 2% to 3%. The Shinya Aoki vs. David Gardner fight peaked at 4% because it was actually aired out of order as the opening bout, ostensibly so people could watch it and then go to sleep!

An average rating of 2.5% is certainly not outstanding, but it is far from a disaster, or even being abnormal. Last year, a new Macross anime series debuted in the same time slot on the same channel to a 2.0% average and was considered a relative success.

In the past, DREAM reps have been unafraid to talk about the consequences that low ratings could bring for their promotion's future on television. But there is no concern being expressed over the DREAM 7 rating, in the Japanese media or by the promoters themselves. From Tony Loiseleur's DREAM 7 Notebook column on Sherdog:

Queued up as the first fight for the tape-delayed airing on TBS, the Aoki-Gardner bout was the highest-rated match of the broadcast, according to Dream event producer Keiichi Sasahara. Overall, the Dream 7 replay did a 2.4 rating in its midnight timeslot, a satisfying rating relative to its time of broadcast, Sasahara said.

So there you have it. The DREAM 7 rating is not a nightmare; it is actually within a normal range, when put into proper context. To compare the number directly with past shows in prime TV hours is to give a warped perspective of matters. The real test of the promotion's drawing ability will be prime time events like the April DREAM 8 card.

[This post originally from]

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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